It's been a long and winding road but Swedish music, podcast and video streaming provider Spotify has finally made its debut in the Land of the Rising Sun. Given the locals' love affair with compact discs, however, it may not be all that big of a deal.
According to the Recording Industry Association of Japan via Billboard, locals spent around $991 million on CDs during the first half of this year compared to just $255 million via digital distribution - a category that includes streaming, album and track sales, ringtones and videos.
Viewed under a different light, only 18 percent of recording industry dollars in Japan came from digital last year versus 66 percent in the US. What's more, a larger percentage of Japan's residents (91.1 percent) have stable access to the Internet (in the US, that figure is lower at 88.5 percent.
What these statistics really mean is that Spotify has an absolutely massive opportunity in front of it with Japan, the world's second largest recorded music market. It won't be the only digital service provider on the block as Apple, Google and Line Music already have established roots in the region although again, as the numbers indicate, none of the current competitors have taken a commanding lead.
Spotify is launching in Japan with a free, ad-supported option as well as an ad-free tier that'll set subscribers back 980 yen ($9.80) per month. Co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek noted on Facebook that they're taking a staggered rollout approach in anticipation of high demand. As such, interested parties are being asked to sign up on Spotify's website to receive an exclusive invite access code.